Le Morte D'Arthur
by Sir Thomas Malory
Le Morte D'Arthur Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page.Line) [from Malory, Thomas. Le Morte D'Arthur. Stephen H. A. Shepherd, ed. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2004. Print.]
"I requyre you of one thynge, that whan ye com to Kynge Arthures courte, discover nat my name, for I am sore there behatyd." (351.2-3)
Knights like Gareth and Trystram chose to withhold their true identities for reasons of honor. But of course, Mark, the man everyone loves to hate, must disguise himself simply because he's a jerk. His pathetic reason for doing something other knights do for honorable reasons just highlights how despicable and deceitful he is in comparison to all the other people in the story.
"Sir, I say you sothe," seyde the damesell, "for ye were thys day in the morne the best knyght of the worlde, but who sholde sey so now, he sholde be a lyer, for there ys now one bettir than ye be. And well hit is prevyd by the adventure of the swerde –
"Whereto ye durst nat sette to your honde: and thus ys the change of youre name and levynge." (501.28-33)
The toughest thing Launcelot has to face is the loss of his identity as "the best knight in the world." In fact, he has to hear it three times during the Grail Quest before he actually believes it, the poor sap. Nobody is saying that Launcelot's no longer the best on the battlefield, though; it's just that something as religious as the Grail Quest, he can never hope to do well because his loyalty lies with Gwenyvere instead of with God.
Than Sir Galahad was a lityll ashamed, and seyde, "Madame, sithyn ye knowe in sertayne, wherefore do ye aske hit me? For he that ys my fadir shall be knowyn opynly, and all betymys." (504.39-41)
Galahad responds to Gwenyvere's question about whether or not Launcelot is his father with the somewhat evasive response that his true father will be revealed "all betymys" – in good time. Galahad's physical father is Launcelot, but he could also be referring to his heavenly father, God, identifying himself as a child of God first and foremost. Oh now that's interesting…